Last Summer we both did a lot of planning for both our vegetable garden and flower gardens. We both would like the front yard landscaping to be a little more, however I don't think this Summer will be the time we tackle this project. Todd has been contemplating on make the garden bigger again. We started our actual garden Summer of 2008. It started out the size of 8x16. We had a successful year of tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. Our poor broccoli was overtaken by the rabbits as well as what we thought was cauliflower. Wal-Mart had mislabeled the plant and it was actually cabbage. We had too much rain for the peppers to grow. It was a nice first garden.
Summer of 2009, Todd expanded the garden, it now became 16x24. We tried so many new things in our garden. We kept what we had prior but we also added different types of peppers, we still had our green peppers, but we also had a red pepper plant as well as banana peppers. We also tried our hand at pole beans, a type of sugar peas, 3 different varieties of lettuce, baby spinach, radish, carrots, zucchini, summer squash, watermelon, corn, as well as one attempt of a pumpkin plant that Mother Nature ripped out of our garden. Our garden wasn't just contained to the 16x24, we also had 4 tractor tires filled with dirt and several containers filled. We tried 2 Topsy Turvy planters and attempted strawberries in one of them. This we will not try again. We did not have any success with keeping the birds away from the strawberries.
We found the carrots did better in the containers, so this year that will be the only place we plant the carrots. Our lose leaf lettuce will also be in containers to free up space for more plants in the garden. Towards the end of Summer, Todd felt that he would like to expand the garden one last time, if we do the size will be 24x24 and we probably will not have the tractor tires as a garden. He planned to take the wooden swing set that the children do not use and place it into the garden as a trellis.
This sent my imagination in overdrive with what I can do in the area where the swing set is currently. I talked about a butterfly garden to him, however he wasn't keen on it due to the fact that he didn't want the caterpillars interfering with our vegetable garden. I agreed with him, the vegetable garden is very important to both of us and I wouldn't want to jeopardize that. However things changed.
We went on vacation to a house we rented off of Lake Rock in Minnesota. It was the perfect vacation, so relaxing. While we were there we would sit on the deck, the neighboring house had a beautiful garden and several bird feeders, one was a hummingbird feeder. I sat there listening to Kera and Todd talk about their memories at his Grandmother's house, watching the hummingbirds eat from her feeders. I loved listening to this memory and wanted so much to have this at home, to keep their memory of that time and start new with my boys and possibly grandchildren in the future. I shared my idea with Todd and he loved the idea that once we came home, we would get a couple of bird feeders going.
On vacation we also went to the Minnesota Zoo. They had a Butterfly Garden Exhibit. Everyone that went enjoyed our time in the Butterfly Garden Exhibit. We enjoyed trying to find the different species as well as the beautiful flowers that this exhibit had on display. We all got a kick how one butterfly hitch hiked a ride on Todd's hat. This butterfly stayed on his hat just about the entire time we were in there. It was a calming setting and we loved seeing how the kids were getting into it as well. We each had a different favorite species. Todd's was one that looked like a rock.
On our drive home, Todd told me that he thought I should do more research on the butterfly garden because he thought that it would be a nice addition to our back yard. I was excited to hear this, so the day after we arrived home I started searching the Internet and found the perfect place in our backyard for our butterfly garden. Todd shared a garden forum that he belonged to because it had great forums for flower gardens as well. He found a design that someone made for one of their gardens and suggested it for one of my flower gardens I was thinking about. This design I thought would be nice for the butterfly garden. By the end of Fall, I noticed we did not have any hummingbirds so now my butterfly garden will also be a garden for hummingbirds as well to attract them to our yard.
My plan for the garden where our swing set is at this time, a shade garden due to our trees. I want to have an arbor with ornamental grass behind it. I found a climbing plant to climb the sides of the arbor( Serotina Florida). On both sides of the arbor, I plan to plant some hosta plants mixed with variety of Astilbe plants. Under the arbor will be pebble rocks and for now there will be 3 garden stones, one that the girls will design, one for the boys to design, and the 3rd one will welcome everyone to our garden. I also would like a bench. I am have not completely made up my mind if this will be a bench that I will buy or design and make myself.